How to Avoid Exposure to Winter Weather-Related Litigation

What You Should Know About Accumulation of Snow and Ice

By: Howard S. Goldman

As we approach the upcoming New England Winter for 2010 and 2011, it is important for property owners and managers alike to keep abreast of the latest developments and trends in Massachusetts law to minimize the exposure to litigation from, primarily, slip and fall accidents from snow accumulation.  This Client Update discusses the recent change in Massachusetts law on the duty of care of a property owner regarding snow and ice removal.  It also provides a few pragmatic recommendations for a carefully worded Snow Removal Maintenance Agreement that can minimize legal exposure to the property owner.

Change in Massachusetts Law and Duty of Care

The traditional Massachusetts legal distinction with natural and unnatural accumulation snow and ice was recently abolished Massachusetts highest court.  In the past, property owners were not negligent if they failed to remove a natural accumulation of ice and snow, and were negligent if they failed to remove an unnatural accumulation of ice and snow. This however changed with a recent decision from the Massachusetts highest court. [Read more…]